Holden Caulfield Alienation

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Holden Caulfield is the main character and narrator of Catcher in the Rye. The story is given after the fact in a stream of consciousness, as Holden is in a rest home. Holden alienates himself to provide a sense of protection from the “real” world he must start living in. He describes adulthood as superficial, hypercritical, and shallow. He believes that he is above the adult world, as all adults are phonies. Holden believes that phoniness is what is wrong in the world and is his excuse for alienating himself. The theme of phoniness is provided throughout the novel. Holden describes the world around him as superficial and shallow.* He wishes that the world would be simple alike when he was a child. However, he has come to see that the world…show more content…
The novel begins with the sense that Holden alienates himself from society. “I was standing way the hell up on top of Thompson Hill…. because practically the whole school except was there”(J.D. Salinger, 2) Holden is reluctant to watch the annual football game with the rest of his school, he is an outsider. Dr. Thurmer, Pencey’s headmaster, gives Holden advice while expelling him from Pencey. Thurmer says to Caulfield and his history teacher, Mr. Spencer, agrees that “Life is a game that one plays according to the rules”(J.D. Salinger, 8). As an outsider, Holden rejects the rules of society and adulthood(The Catcher in the Rye: Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis, litcharts.com). He feels that he is not on the side with all the hotshots. After leaving Pencey, Holden goes to the Penn Station in New York. He wants to contact someone, but does not know who. He could call his older brother D.B. or his younger sister Phoebe. There’s Jane Gallagher a friend from Maine or Sally Hayes. Caulfield makes many excuses for not calling any of them and decides not to, further alienating himself and making him more depressed. During a walk, Holden thinks about D.B.’s experience in the war and comes to the conclusion he could never be in the army. He believes that during a war, he would volunteer to sit on an atomic bomb. Caulfield is so alienated from society that it seems that the rest of the world does not exist to him(The Catcher…show more content…
Throughout the novel, Caulfield craves human love and contact. After a fight with Stradlater, Ackley barges into Caulfield’s room and he “was really glad to seem him.” Caulfield is lonely and enjoys the presence of Ackley, even if Ackley annoys him. When Holden is offered to have a throw with a prostitute, he accepts because of his loneliness. When the girl arrives, he doesn’t want to have sex but to chat. He wants someone to talk to and to spend the night with. He wants relieve the loneliness he feels.. However, the girls does not want to talk and just wants to do her job. Holden cannot find comfort in the prostitute. The next day, Caulfield and Sally Hayes go on a date to the theatre and then ice skating. While sitting at the rink, Holden asks Sally to runaway to Massachusetts and marry him even though he doesn’t like Sally. Holden’s first connection with a girl and he is emotional(The Catcher in the Rye: Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis). Holden becomes upset when Sally declines his offer as they are still children. Angry, Holden tells Sally that she gives him “a royal pain in the ass”(J.D. Salinger, 133). Sally begins to cry and Holden has ruined his relationship with Sally. At the Wicker Bar, where Holden waits for his friend from Whooton School, Carl Luce. When Carl arrives, Holden asks him about his sex life. However, Luce refuses to get into a “typical Caulfield conversation(J.D. Salinger, 145).” Luce asks Caulfield when he

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